Former Flying Scotsman driver Wally celebrates birthday in Wisbech

Wally Blazey with staff at North Cambs Hospital
Wally Blazey with staff at North Cambs Hospital

A dedicated volunteer and former driver of the Flying Scotsman celebrated his 90th birthday in style with a party at North Cambs Hospital, in Wisbech.

Trafford ward volunteer Wally Blazey was joined by nurses at the in-patient rehabilitation and palliative care unit for a party they organised in his honour, handing over presents and a birthday cake.

Jane Bates (right) from Asda presents ward manager Sandra Dade (left) with a cheque

Jane Bates (right) from Asda presents ward manager Sandra Dade (left) with a cheque

Wisbech resident Wally has been volunteering with the ward for the past 11 years, supporting staff by helping with food and drinks, making the beds and talking to patients.

His other claim to fame is being one of the last two surviving engine drivers of the famous Mallard and Flying Scotsman steam trains.

Sandra Dade, ward manager, said: “Wally is an inspiration and despite being older than most of our patients works hard on the ward week in, week out. He’s always cheerful, is a pleasure to have around and makes a real contribution to the smooth running of the unit.”

Mandy Cuckow, patient and admin services manager for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust is responsible for managing the volunteering service at North Cambs Hospital.

She said: “Everyone adores Wally; he’s lovely with everyone. He is a dedicated and very jovial man who has been and continues to be a valuable asset to the ward. Thank you to Wally and all of our volunteers at the hospital.”

The 90th birthday party for Wally was also an opportunity for the Asda store in Wisbech to present a cheque for £200, after the ward won its monthly green token scheme, where customers vote for three charities to receive donations. The money will go toward the purchase of a recliner chair for visitors.